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The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Bank Polska Kasa Opieki (Bank Pekao S.A.), have signed a COSME agreement that will allow the Bank to provide PLN 1.2 billion (ca. €285 million) in loans to small and medium-sized Polish businesses. The agreement will allow Bank Pekao S.A. to provide SMEs with investment and operational loans

with lower down-payment requirements and to support SMEs and start-ups which have limited access to lending. Around 1,500 Polish SMEs are expected to benefit from these loans. This agreement is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan.

EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: "Today's announcement by the European Investment Fund and Bank Pekao is very good news for start-ups and other small businesses in Poland wishing to scale up. Thanks to EU support, around 1,500 Polish SMEs who have struggled to access finance until now will have a new opportunity. This is yet another good example of the Juncker Plan at work."

EIF Deputy Chief Executive, Roger Havenith said: "EIF support via the Investment Plan for Europe continues to deliver a wide range of financing options for Polish SMEs and we are pleased to be announcing this new agreement with Bank Pekao today. The guarantee will help Bank Pekao to provide enhanced access to finance to currently essentially excluded risky SMEs and start-ups – in line with our strategy to support entrepreneurship, jobs and growth”.

The current agreement is the largest direct guarantee EIF transaction with a Polish intermediary within the EU Programmes. “I would like to congratulate EIF and Bank Pekao SA for signing of the agreement for benefit of Polish entrepreneurs. Polish government supports implementation of the COSME Programme, which actions are in line with our Strategy for Responsible Development” – commented Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology.

Tomasz Styczyński, Vice President of the Management Board supervising the SME Banking Division of Bank Pekao S.A., said: “Bank Pekao S.A. has been a reliable and highly valued partner of the European Union institutions for many years. The current COSME contract is the fifth contract concluded by the bank with the European Investment Fund, under the financial instruments of EU programs for 2007-2013 and 2014-2020. The total value of these contracts is nearly PLN 3.8 billion. As part of the current, largest portfolio, we will offer preferential financing for 1500 of Polish micro, small and medium entrepreneurs".

“We are proud that we could support Bank Pekao S.A. in the application process for the COSME guarantee. We will also assist in the implementation of the agreement, by promoting the offer among Polish entrepreneurs” – declared Arkadiusz Lewicki, Director of the National Contact Point for Financial Instruments of the EU Programmes.